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What Happened To Free Internet Access?

What Happened To Free Internet Access? Author Dan Karas

ISP 1 Article
by Dan Karas

Last Revision:
Nov. 15, 2009

When Did Free Internet Access Start?

The concept of Free Internet Access started way back in 1998. Soon there dozens of free Internet service providers boasting millions of registered users. Names such as FreeWWWeb, Free Internet, WorldSpy, NetZero, Juno, Kmart's BlueLight, American Express AMEXOL, just to name a few.

How Did Free Internet Access Work?

With most free Internet access providers, you had a floating advertising banner on your screen while you were online. Some of them made you click on an advertisement periodically or they disconnect you. The free ISP received advertising and e-commerce revenues to help offset the costs of providing the free Internet access.

FreeWWWeb & WorldSpy were fast, reliable, highly rated Nationwide Free ISPs that didn't require a floating advertising bar. I tried many of these free Internet service providers myself for several months and was very satisfied with their performance and reliability.

How Was Free Internet Access Marketed?, a popular free ISP, spent over 89 million dollars in venture capital on operational losses and advertising campaigns. FreeInternet's advertising campaigns included a television commercial staring basketball star Shaquille O'Neal and Baby Bob, an animated baby character.

Kmart and American Express also spent millions of dollars marketing their free Internet services. Kmart distributed millions of BlueLight free Internet CDs through it's large network of retail stores.

What Happened?

Unfortunately, at least for free Internet access customers, all good things come to an end and free Internet providers proved to be no exception. The advertising and e-commerce supported free Internet access model collapsed more rapidly than ENRON.

By July of 2000 virtually all the free Internet service providers had filed for bankruptcy, shut down or discontinued offering free Internet access.

Kmart even discontinued it's popular BlueLight free Internet service and started referring it's existing free ISP customers to NetZero.

Did Any Free ISPs Survive?

NetZero and Juno were exceptions, they continued to provide advertising and commerce supported free Internet access. They also acquired certain assets and customers of, & now defunct free ISPs.

As time passed NetZero and Juno limited their free Internet service in an attempt to entice their existing customers to switch to one of their paid Internet access plans. Soon after NetZero joined forces with Juno to form the company United Online.

Can I Still Get Free Internet Service?

As of November 15, 2009 when this link was last checked, NetZero Free Internet was still offering 10 hours per month of dial up free Internet access.

  • NetZero 10 Free Hours / Month
    • 10 free hours of web surfing
    • Free 1 GB email account
    • Spam and email virus protection
    • Thousands of local access numbers
Free Internet Access

The rest of the former free ISPs have either been acquired by other companies or been converted to fee for service ($$$) Internet service providers.

Are There Low Cost Alternatives?

Basically there are two options when it comes to cheap Internet access. You can choose a low cost dial up or high speed broadband service provider.

  • Dial Up Internet Access
    • Lowest cost
    • Single computer
    • Light to moderate use
    • Ties up a phone line
    • Slow download speeds

If you need light to moderate Internet access on a single computer, then standard or accelerated dial up Internet access is the cheaper option and provides reasonable service for a lower cost.

If you choose one of the inexpensive dial-up Internet providers that we feature. You'll receive dependable dial up Internet service for the lowest monthly cost.

If you want to connect multiple computers to the Internet simultaneously or are a heavy Internet user, then you should consider upgrading to a broadband high speed connection.

Anyone who has surfed the net using a traditional dial up Internet connection is aware of how painfully slow web pages seem to load. Broadband high speed Internet access is extremely fast and increasingly becoming a virtual necessity in today's high tech society.

ISP 1 suggests that you try one of our low cost high speed Internet providers that meets your Broadband needs and expectations. You'll receive blazing fast, reliable high speed Internet service for a reasonable monthly cost.

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What Happened To Free Internet Access?
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